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12 Christmas Gift Ideas for Family and Friends Abroad

On the twelfth day of Christmas, my true love sent to me… a food hamper and a gift card?

Christmas is a time where we miss our family and friends abroad just that little bit more. Feel closer to those you love by gifting them a thoughtful present that shows just how much you appreciate them.

It can be hard to find a gift that can be sent abroad easily, which is why I’ve used my own experience of presents for far-flung relatives to help, and amassed these 12 Christmas gift ideas. Hopefully you’ll find the perfect present somewhere below!

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Christmas Gift Ideas for Family and Friends Abroad

A Merry Monstera

House plants are the perfect Christmas gift: they give any room a homely, natural feel and are (in the right hands, at least!) a gift that will last far beyond the first few weeks of January.

A Monstera plant is one of my favourites, but any house plant will do. You can always give the least green-fingered person in your circle a cactus. A house plant is a planet-friendly gift that will keep you in the thoughts of family and friends as they struggle to keep it alive!

There are several websites you can use to purchase your gift, but Bloom&Wild, FloraQueen and Interflora are great options.

Seasons Greetings With a Gift Experience

It can be tricky when deciding on the perfect gift for someone. Will they like it? And will they even use it?

Gifting friends and family abroad with an experience for a Christmas present is a great way of showing you care. They will think of you when they decide to use it!

With generous expiration dates, the true beauty of gifting an experience is that the receiver can book a time and day best suited to them, so there is no pressure.

Websites such as Virgin Experiences and Get Your Guide have a fantastic selection of experiences that won’t break the bank and cater to a wide range of customers.

Driving Experience

From Formula 1 to Ferraris: this is a great Christmas gift idea for any car enthusiast, where they can spend the day driving a luxury car of their choice.

City Break

Weekend trip to Malta
Weekend trip to Malta

Why not treat your loved one to a city break? You could arrange a trip at the same time for a chance to see each other. This is a great Christmas gift idea and gives them something to look forward to when the festive period is over.

Spa Experience

Give your loved ones a chance to simply sit back and relax. After all, some people prefer being pampered to a day spent running around a city! Booking a spa day as a gift is a great idea for those looking for a luxurious day away from it all.

Theatre Tickets

Even if they’re closer to Brisbane than Broadway, a theatre ticket is always a showstopper of a gift. Surprising your favourite theatre-nerd with tickets to their most-loved theatre show is bound to win you brownie points. So what are you waiting for? Get this show on the road!

A Mini Break

Kat at Royal Crescent
Royal Crescent

For an extravagant gift they’re not likely to forget, it’s hard to beat 2-3 nights away on a mini break. With the chance to choose their dream holiday from a selection of 100s of places, who could say no?

There are gift boxes available that aren’t limited to only the cities, and offer short stays to a place of your loved one’s choosing. If they want to extend their break, it’s usually simple to add an additional night or two by going direct.

Wine Tasting

Malta’s 3 Cities Tour & Wine Tasting

Know a wine connoisseur? For the person in your life that swirls their wine glass and talks about ‘aromas’, a wine tasting experience is the perfect gift. Maybe your parents live abroad, or you want to treat your siblings. You can never go wrong when it comes to wine!

Gifting your friends and family with tickets to a vineyard or a distillery makes for the perfect day out. They may even raise a glass to you!

Food Hamper

For a gift of pure indulgence, and to share a slice of your favourite British foods, why not ship over a luxury food hamper from The Queen’s grocer, Fortnum and Mason.

These iconic wicker baskets include only the most British of treats, including Royal Blend Tea, jars of sweet lemon curd and raspberry preserve, All Butter Crackers served with Piccadilly piccalilli and Fortnum’s fruitcake with luxurious Marc de Champagne truffles.

If you want something a bit more budget-friendly and personalised, you can make your own food hamper. Fill a box with all the things you know the receiver will love to open. Whether it’s drinks, crisps or sweet delights, this package will remind them of the comfort of being at home.

A Photo Album: a Picture-Perfect Christmas Present

A Christmas classic. Putting together an album of memorable photos is another top-quality gift to send abroad to family and friends at Christmas. This is a more family-friendly gift than one for friends; older relatives just love an updated photo album.

You could even add in some special messages and pictures drawn by the kids, which is bound to put a smile upon someone’s face.

Gift a Jingle Bell Rock: Jewellery

Credit: Custom Map Necklace Diamond Rose Jewellery

If you know their taste in jewellery and want to send a long-lasting gift, sending a piece of jewellery to a loved one abroad is another great Christmas gift idea. Shop on Etsy for personalised pieces to give it that added sentimental touch.

You could engrave a bangle with a friend’s name, send a keyring with a common phrase that is special to someone or purchase two necklaces, one for each of you that forms a heart when they connect so that you always have a piece of each other!

A piece of jewellery doesn’t have to be expensive to be special to someone. If you do want to send a highly-priced item abroad, always remember to insure it, in case it gets lost or damaged.

Santa’s Subscriptions

Nothing says ‘I love you’ more than a monthly renewal! For the gift that keeps on giving, a subscription is a fantastic and convenient way to send a present abroad.

You can get a subscription for almost anything these days, but here are a few ideas.


Setting up a subscription for a friend couldn’t be easier and is a superb gift idea, particularly if they live in a country where the tv choice isn’t the best.

The diverse selection of films, documentaries and tv series will keep them entertained for hours. You can even watch the same show at the same time despite being thousands of miles from each other.


Coffee is an excellent Christmas Present
Coffee is an excellent Christmas Present

If your friends or family love coffee as much as I do, they’ll love a coffee subscription box. Every month will give them the chance to try a different type of coffee, to help them on their crusade to find the perfect brew.

There are quite a few coffee subscriptions to choose from, but Batch is one of the best!

Local Cinema

There’s nowhere quite like the cinema for a movie buff. Seeing a new film on the big screen, avoiding the potential spoilers of waiting for streaming and eating bucket-loads of popcorn; the cinema’s an unmissable experience.

Most countries and cinema chains now have a subscription service, and many independents will too. Look up their nearest cinema and gift them 12 months of the latest movies.

VPN Service

Some countries may block access to certain websites, and this is where a VPN service is useful. A VPN also allows users access to their subscriptions when travelling as well as other services that may require payment.

Their Favourite Magazine

An old-school subscription gift, but often a welcome one. The lovely thing about a magazine subscription is that it’s almost a personalised gift; you can choose either their favourite magazine, if they have one, or something that aligns with their interests, like travel or film.

Amazon Kindle Unlimited

The perfect present for a true bookworm is a subscription to the Amazon Kindle.

This subscription gives users access to over one million books, audiobooks and magazines. This will keep a friend or member of your family entertained for hours on end and doesn’t require any postage or tracking numbers.

Other Subscription Boxes

A subscription box can include various products such as makeup, skincare or razors. They can be practical subscriptions or something of interest, whichever you feel is right for the person. Each month, the subscriber is sent samples of products along with discount vouchers for a selection of websites.

The beauty of a subscription box is that there is no contract, so if a friend or member of the family no longer wants the subscription, you can cancel it with a click!

Ho Ho Home Decor

Credit: Aromatherapy Candles Kindred Fires

Sending a small gift that friends or family can decorate their home with is again a great Christmas present to send abroad.

It’s easiest to stick to small, neutral ideas such as a candle, a reed diffuser, a throw for the couch or small wall decoration. Bedsheets, dish towels and blankets are also a good idea, particularly if that special someone has moved away just recently and may not have a lot to furnish their new home with.

If you want a practical gift, a tablet stand may come in handy if communication is going to be through a camera from now on. Choose from a wide selection of tablet stands from Amazon, which can be sent directly to the receiver’s address.

No Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh? Time For a Money Transfer

If you’re not too confident in your choice in gifts, or know the person would prefer some cold hard cash, sending money as a Christmas gift is sometimes the best, most stress-free choice for all parties.

Getting the Best Deal

While sending money to the recipient directly from your bank account to theirs may be easier and free, the exchange rate may mean they won’t receive as much as you think they will.

Make sure you are fully aware of the fees (and any hidden fees) associated with transferring money by checking the terms and conditions of the company you choose to send it through. Don’t forget to triple-check you have the right details and give yourself plenty of time to factor in international transfers!

Sending money through Wise takes around 7 days, depending on how much you want to send to the intended account, so it would be wise (see what we did there) to send a money transfer in advance.

Choose A Recommended Company

If you are sending large amounts of money, you want to be sure you are sending it with the right company.

Wise is used by over 10 million people and is regulated by the FCA. It prides itself on being “The 7x cheaper international account”, making it a good, reliable choice.

Christmas Decorations

London Telephone Box Christmas Decorations
London Telephone Box Christmas Decorations

Christmas decorations are a great gift to send abroad. Christmas decorations are often cherished for many years; it’s like sending a piece of home to the ones you love.

If friends or family have only recently moved abroad during the festive season, they may not have had the chance to purchase any decorations for their new home.

‘Tis the Season for Gift Cards

If you want something that feels a bit more like a gift than money, but still gives the person freedom to purchase a present of their choosing, a gift card is a reliable middle-ground. It’s convenient too, as they can be sent via email!

Treat a friend with a gift voucher for their favourite restaurant or attraction. Maybe there is a certain retail store they spend a lot of money in, or perhaps they enjoy going to the cinema. Whatever it is that they enjoy doing, there is most likely a gift voucher for it which will be received gratefully.

Personalised Gifts

Personalised Photo Calendar

Etsy is a great site to visit if you want to send a personalised photo calendar as a Christmas gift.

You can add photos of people back home, pictures of yourself with whoever will be receiving this gift, or both!

You can’t go wrong with a personalised calendar, and if you don’t want to put images inside, you could exchange them for inspirational quotes that are meaningful to whoever will be receiving it.

Personalised Cushions

Yes, personalised cushions are a thing! Stick your face on a soft pillow to send abroad to your friends and family. It doesn’t necessarily have to be your face; they may have a pet back at home that they miss.

This fun Christmas gift is sure to put a smile on anyone’s face, and every time they sit down or make the bed in the morning, they will think of you!

Custom Painting

Head to Etsy once again – this time to commission a painting from an independent artist. Paintings of family, friends and pets are popular choices, but really you can request anything you like! You get a unique gift while also supporting local artists. Make sure to order in advance, as they’re likely to be busy closer to Christmas.

Personalised Mugs and Glasses

Who wouldn’t love a mug with your mug on it? Personalised mugs and glasses have all the appeal of a photo album, while also being a useful new addition to the kitchen cupboard.

After all, who doesn’t love a new mug to drink their morning tea or coffee out of? The same goes for wine and beer glasses too.

There is no need to worry about packaging and sending these fragile items, as you can order from Etsy to be sent straight to their home address. Don’t forget to add a gift message too, so they will know who it’s from!

Clothing to Match the Climate

Glaciers in Iceland
Glaciers in Iceland

Perhaps a friend or member of your family has moved to a country where the climate is warmer than it is back at home (lucky them!). If that is the case, why not send beachwear, a beach towel or flip flops as a Christmas gift. Chances are, they are going to need it.

Similarly, if they have moved to somewhere with low temperatures, send them a set including gloves, a scarf and a bobble hat. A hot water bottle and a blanket is also a good idea.

Christmas Care Package

Being away from friends and family during the Christmas period can be quite a lonely time. Cheer up a loved one by sending a Christmas care package abroad!

Care packages are relatively easy and fun to make. You simply grab a box and fill it with all the things you know the receiver will love. Maybe they have a favourite snack that is unavailable in the country where they now reside.

Other things to add in are photos, magazines, cake mixes and sweets.

For rules on what you can and cannot post, visit the website of the postal company to check the restrictions.

katherine nairn profile pic

Hi, I'm Kat, an Australian that moved to London in 2013 to start a new adventure. What a roller-coaster that was! I love helping others move to the UK and people explore the world! I’d be honoured if you’d say, “Thanks!” with a £3 coffee on Ko-fi.

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